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The letter ا

Isolated form
ا
Letter name
aleph = أَلِف
Pronunciation
Longer 'aa' sound
Connector
No

ا is the first long vowel we will learn. Aleph is pronounced a bit like the longer ‘aa’ in the southern British pronuciation of car. But this sound can vary depending upon the surrounding consonants, as you may hear below. 

Final
Connected only to the letter before it.
ـا
كَمَان
also

Medial
-
-
-
Initial
-
-
-
Isolated
Written alone or after a non-connecting letter.
ا
وَاحَد
one (1)

It is our first ‘non-connector’, as it only has an isolated and final shape: it joins to the right (if there is one in the word). If another letter is placed to its left, it does not join, but rather we keep a small space before writing the next letter.

Now you can begin to form some simple words in Arabic. Notice how aleph – ا – does not join to the letters after it:

English
Isolated letters
Arabic Word
Daddy
ب + ا + ب + ا
بابا
Door
ب + ا + ب
باب

Exercise 1: Joining together letters

Please connect these isolated letters in the right hand column to from English words with Arabic letters. The hint may help as all the words mean something in English.

Question
Isolated letters
Full word in Arabic
Hint
Example
أَ + ب + ا
أَبا
Swedish pop band
1.
ن + ا + ن
Type of Indian bread
2.
أَ + ن + ت
Tiny insect
3.
ت + ا + ب
Key on the keyboard
4.
أَ + ت
The symbol in emails
5.
ب + ا + ت
Used in cricket/baseball

Answers video coming soon!

Answers

1. نان = naan
2. أَنت = ant
3. تاب = tab
4. أَت = @ = at
5. بات = bat

Exercise 2: Joining together letters

Please join up these individual letters to form words.

Again, remember to read from right to left in Arabic!

Example:  تُتِ = تُ + تِ

  1. بَ + ا + ب
  2. ل + بْ + نَ + ا + ن
  3. نَ+ بَ + ا + ت
  4. بَ + نَ + ا + ت
  5. إِ + نَ + ا + ث
  6. بَ + ا + بَ + ا

Answers

  1. بَ + ا + ب = بَاب = door
  2. ل + بْ + نَ + ا + ن = لبْنَان = Lebanon
  3. نَ+ بَ + ا + ت = نَبَات = plant
  4. بَ + نَ + ا + ت = بَنَات = girls / daughters 
  5. إِ + نَ + ا + ث = إِنَاث = females
  6. بَ + ا + بَ + ا = بَابَا = daddy

Exercise 3: Breaking up words into letters

Please break up the following words in into isolated letters. Remember to read the Arabic from right to left!

Example:  تُتِ = تُ + تِ

  1. نَبَات
  2. بَنَات
  3. بَابَا
  4. لبْنَان

Answers

  1. نَبَات = نَ + بَ + ا + ت = a plant
  2. بَنَات = بَ + نَ + ا + ت = Girls
  3. بَابَا = بَ + ا + بَ + ا = daddy
  4. لبْنَان = ل + بْ + نَ + ا + ن = Lebanon